1,219. That’s the number of days since my cofounder PJ and I decided we should “give this idea a go”.
Our idea on day 1 in the summer of 2016 was to build a software that behaves like a marketing analyst. It would scan real-time data and produce optimisation recommendations. The goal was to help marketers save time and money, with a smart tool.
Back then, it was just an idea, and a slide deck.
Ideas, however, are only 5% of the work.
In the last 3 years we have been fortunate to be joined by an extraordinary team of 9, who have made it possible to deliver the 95% that really matter: execution.
Today is a special day: we are so proud that the technology we have built with our team and our clients' feedback is becoming a part of Twitter, and will help millions of SMBs!
As the co-founder and CEO of Aiden.ai, I feel a lot of strong emotions on this day.
No words can convey the unique journey we have been on, with its sky-high ups, vertiginous lows!
I feel enormously privileged to have lived the experience with amazing people. For 3 years, I kept my eyes wide open to take it all in:
- The first time starting a company
- The first hires
- Building a minimum viable product and getting our first paying user
- Raising our first round whilst both having kids on the way with PJ
- And the first exit!
Today, we, as a team, are living through a special ephemeral moment that deserves a stop, before moving on to this incredible next adventure with Twitter.
Here are 9 adrenaline-filled memories, that will stay with me long after we’ve transitioned to our new lives
#1. November 2016 — First office.
Our first ever office was Bloom space in Gower street. Just a few hot desks and a sofa to share with 4 other startups in the making. This place was also a gym for the National Health System staff (true story).
#2. December 2016 — First time on a big stage.
Being selected for Techcrunch Disrupt ‘s startup Battlefield competition when the company was 3 months old and 100% bootstrapped was the best opportunity we could dream of. It was also the scariest, but then starting with this made everything else look easy. We raised a seed round of $750k a few weeks later.
#3. March 2017 — The first investor update
An exciting first, because it means people are officially backing you, and investing in your product vision! Thanks to Jean de La Rochebrochard for putting together helpful content to guide new founders through the difficult exercise of clear communication in monthly investor updates.
#4. December 2017 — Official product launch!
The team grew to 5 and we launched our product publicly on the main stage of Techcrunch Disrupt to an audience of over 800 attendees. I was 7 months 🤰 💛
#5. June 2018 — First team offsite abroad
Culture is key at startups, and creating it from scratch is an incredible privilege. We took the whole gang out to Lisbon to announce that we closed a new round of funding to fuel an ambitious move towards multichannel optimisation recommendations.
#6. July 2018 — Growing up!
We had outgrown our offices for the second time, and moved into a space that is really our own. Of course it was a baby-friendly office :)
#7. May 2019 — Doing something really scary.
We’re making a bold move: the whole team will be relocating to SF for 3 months. This was a logistical challenge for PJ and I who both have families with young kids, but we had a feeling that not doing it would come at a much higher cost. The goal was to prepare our international expansion and simulate a DYI acceleration program!
This one is impossible to summarize in one picture, and will require a whole new post. What I can say is that this has been a highlight of the startup journey, where we have learned so much in a short amount of time. Thanks to our startup friends (Pierre Betouin✊!!), who have spent time sharing their precious advice, and to our families, for believing in us and supporting us at 1000% 🙏💕
#8. October 2019 — Decisions, Decisions.
There is something special about being able to share your team’s vision and product with other founders. When that founder built and now runs 2 publicly traded companies, it feels really unique. Some meetings make you see the potential of your product differently. PJ and I were fortunate to have one of those with Jack Dorsey— and it changed everything.
#9. October 2019 — Announcing the news to our team!❤
It matters to us to live the entire adventure as a team. We all flew to Barcelona for the big reveal (asked everyone to meet us at the airport with a suitcase on a Monday morning) 🇪🇸. We turned the announcement into a 2 days workshop to discuss how our vision can continue on the other side and how to make the most of what is to come! The look on people’s faces when we asked everyone to sign NDAs in that Airbnb… priceless!
You never know when the last day at your startup will be. I could not be more grateful and happy of what those 1,219 days have taught me personally, and the incredibly inspiring people we met along the way. Thanks for those precious moments and here’s to the new ones to come 🙏🥂💥